Just got a new Xbox One S or X? Here's how to set it up right

Just got a new Xbox One S or X? Here's how to set it up right

Microsoft Xbox One X (black) and One S (white).(Photo: Microsoft.)

Well done! You got that new Xbox One and have officially won the holidays.

Now comes the real fun part: Getting it set up properly. Whether you bought an Xbox One S or an Xbox One X, we are here to help to make sure that you are making the most of your brand new system right out of the box.

While things were more complicated in the past, with the rise of WiFi and HDMI for TVs – a single cable that transmits digital audio and video from the console to the screen – things have gotten a lot simpler. Let's get started.

The "basics"

Just got a new Xbox One S or X? Here's how to set it up right

(Photo: Microsoft)

With the exception of 4K, the setup process for both the Xbox One S and One X is virtually identical and both systems come with what you'll need in the box including a controller, batteries and HDMI and power cables. Unlike the PS4, Microsoft actually has two HDMI ports in the back of its systems, one to go out to the TV and one to connect to your cable or satellite box if you want to make the Xbox the hub of your TV. For this guide, we're going to focus on setting up just the Xbox portion. Plug the power cable into the Xbox and the included HDMI into the HDMI port labeled "To TV" with the other ends going to their respective sides. Make sure the Xbox isn't placed in a closed cabinet or with other devices on top of it that would block its fans.

Just got a new Xbox One S or X? Here's how to set it up right

The Xbox One S game console.(Photo: Microsoft)

Put the batteries into the controller and press the "Xbox" button in the middle to turn it on. It should already be synced with your new console. If it is not synced, hold down the little dot above the "Xbox" button and a similar tiny button below the Xbox light on the console. Both white lights should flash rapidly before slowing into the same rhythm which will symbolize they are paired. (This is also how you can add additional controllers in the future). The wireless controller is also where you can plug in headphones or a headset to chat online.Once the controller is set up and the console is plugged in and turned on, follow the on-screen instructions for language and date and time. You'll then be asked to connect your console to the internet, either over WiFi or a wired Ethernet connection. Ethernet is often more reliable and faster than WiFi and if your Xbox is near your router or an Ethernet port in your wall we recommend using that to connect online. If you're connecting through WiFi, you'll need to add in your WiFi password. The left joystick or directional pad will allow you to move the cursor while the "A" button will select. Once connected, you'll likely be prompted to install a software update. Do it, go open some more presents and then we'll continue.

Setting up Xbox Live

To play games online, you're going to need an Xbox Live Gold subscription. A free trial is often included as a redeemable code with your new console, but Microsoft also sells it in its Xbox online store under memberships (not to mention traditional retailers). A year's subscription regularly runs $59.99, though it does have a few perks such as discounts on games from the online store as well as a few free games of Microsoft's choosing each month.

Just got a new Xbox One S or X? Here's how to set it up right

(Photo: Microsoft)

Microsoft will need you to log into your Microsoft account. If you have one (like an Outlook.com or Hotmail.com email address or an account with Skype or Windows), you can log in to that account here. If not, you can make a new one.

You will also need to create a gamertag, or screen name that will identify you when playing online. One will be randomly assigned to start if you're making a new account, but we'll change it soon.

Continue going through the set up as prompted.

Allowing the Xbox to control your TV

Now that the initial set up is complete, it's time to turn it on and tweak a few features. Both the Xbox One S and One X have an IR blaster built in to let you control your TV, allowing you to turn your TV on when you power on your Xbox. Press the "Xbox" button on the controller. Move over to the "Settings" gear by pressing "RB" and select "Settings." Head down to the section labeled "TV & OneGuide" and choose "Device Control." Click on "TV" followed by "TV setup."Depending on the model, the Xbox may automatically detect the type of TV and know how to control it. If not, you can search for the brand manually, which will walk you through the setup.Once added, hit "B" to get back to the "Device Control" screen and choose "Device power options." Make sure that, when the Xbox is turned on, your TV is set to on and when the Xbox turns off, your TV is set to off. (If you use your TV for other inputs, you may want to leave the latter at "nothing" instead of off).

Change your gamertag

You can change your gamertag a number of ways. If Microsoft assigned you one during setup, like described above, you can change your gamertag one time for free.

While you can do this from the Xbox directly, it may be easier to open up account.xbox.com on a phone or computer, log in with your Microsoft account you just created. Go to "change gamertag" and look to see if your new online name is available. If it is, click "claim it" and you're done.

Reminder: You can always change your gamertag again later, but Microsoft will charge you.

Enable HDR and 4K

If you have a new or recent TV, your Xbox should detect during set up that it supports 4K and HDR automatically. If it doesn't, here is how you can make sure it's enabled. Both the One X and One S support HDR gameplay, while the One X allows games to be played in 4K as well (the One S can stream Netflix and other videos in 4K but can't play games at that resolution).

Go to the "Display & sound" section of Settings. Under "display," make sure the resolution is set to "4K UHD." Then, under "advanced TV settings" make sure the boxes for HDR and 4K are checked. Note: Some TVs will need you to go into the picture settings to enable HDR. This sometimes is referred to as HDMI UHD Color (on Samsung TVs), HDMI Ultra HD Deep Color (on LG TVs) or making sure the TV input is set to HDMI 2.0 (on Roku TVs). When in doubt, a quick search on how to enable HDR on your TV of choice should help to get things promptly set up.

Download games and apps

Congrats! We're almost done. Now that you've gotten the basic setup completed, it's time to download apps and games.

Just got a new Xbox One S or X? Here's how to set it up right

22. FIFA 19 (Xbox One) EA’s “FIFA” series has been around for a quarter of a century. “FIFA 19," the latest in the highest-selling sports franchise of all time, has sold over 1.2 million units for the Xbox One in just three weeks of sales.(Photo: Electronic Arts)

You can do this from the Store directly. You can get to the Store from the Home screen by navigating to it directly or by tapping the "Xbox" button on the controller and navigating down to the "Store" icon under "Home."

The Store is where you'll be able to redeem codes (under the "use a code" section) for the games that came bundled with your system, download apps like Netflix, Hulu and HBO and search for other games like "Fortnite."

Reminder: To play "Fortnite" or other games online, you will need an Xbox Live subscription.

Tip: Microsoft makes Xbox apps for Windows, iOS and Android. If you don't want to type in codes using your Xbox, you can enter them here and download them to your Xbox by going to the "My Games and Apps" section from the home screen or controller.

While the games in your bundle are likely codes, you can buy games as physical discs from a regular retailer. Both formats will work with the Xbox One and both will require you to download the game to your Xbox before you can play so when it comes to future games go with what will get you the better deal.

Go game!

That's it, you're now all set up and ready to play. Enjoy your new Xbox. Follow Eli Blumenthal on Twitter @eliblumenthal
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